Mathematics and AfL

Clare Lee | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Evidence about Assessment for Learning

Assessment for learning and formative assessment tend to be used interchangeably. There is some disagreement about how formative and summative assessment are defined and that is in part due to the breadth of actions that can be considered formative. Summative assessments can, without doubt, be used formatively ( Black et al 2002). There is some agreement that the process of using assessments formatively:

  • provides feedback to learners that they can use to improve their learning;
  • actively involves the learners themselves in the process and in decisions made;
  • adapts subsequent learning activities to take account of the information revealed;
  • uses the information in a timely fashion, that is the next learning activity is modified because of the information gained from the assessment;
  • requires learners to be able to assess themselves and understand how to take steps to improve.

The latest definition that has resulted based in research states:

"An assessment functions formatively to the extent that evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers, learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the decisions made in the absence of that evidence." (Wiliam 2011 p.43)

There seem to be five key strategies that are necessary to the process of formative assessment, these are summarised in the table below.

The Five Key Strategies of formative assessment can be found here